My Do’s and Dont’s !

kathy-laucius I am asked countless times about what I do and don’t do when it comes to my fitness regimen.  I’m always surprised by the myths that surround the process and the assumptions that are made regarding that of a successful routine.

But I get it- I was just as astounded when I started my journey to learn of others’ paths to success and was eager to learn of their tried and true methods for both eating and fitness goals.

Part of the journey is figuring out what works for YOU, not your neighbor, not your co-worker or your sibling.  The secret is to establish routines you can live with and maintain for long term success.

Here are my DO’s/ DONT’S:

1) I DON’T starve myself.   I DO eat every 3-4 hours.  Ask anyone who’s ever been with me for a long period of time throughout the day, I’m always looking for my next meal!  And I DON’T eat on the fly, I  DO have a plan for every day.   Whether it’s a prepared meal in my purse or a healthy stop on the way, I try not to leave anything to chance.

2) I DON’T do 2 hours of cardio/ day.  The very first thing your body adapts to when you start out is your cardio routine.  What I mean is that the more you do, the more you have to keep doing in order to maintain results.  I DO about 4-5 hours/week.  This is what works for ME and helps me maintain my current size.   If I’m getting ready for something, I will bump it up an hour or 2 for a few weeks until the important date.  But I do this knowing that the results are temporary and once I go back to my normal routine and calorie consumption,  my body will return to it’s previous state.

3) I DON’T use the same cardio each time.  I DO a combination of HIIT  ( High Intensity Interval Training) and moderate cardio.   Your body will eventually plateau if you’re not using some form of interval training HIIT ( sprints, etc) to mix it up.

3) I DON’T weight train every day.  I DO use body part splits because I feel that works best for me.  Here’s an example of my training schedule:


Tuesday- OFF, cardio only




Saturday/Sunday- OFF, cardio only

4)  I DON’T obsess over every calorie I put in my mouth but I DO stay mindful of my meal plan and which 10646759_10203183998494876_4043005531023770262_ncombinations of foods that work for me.  I prefer to keep my calories around 1300-1500/day during the week with a combination of protein, good fats and lower carbs.  I have a cheat day on the weekend.  I don’t eat 3 large pizzas but I definitely don’t carry my cooler around all day.  Again, this is what works for me.

5)  I DON’T weigh myself everyday but I DO pay attention to how my clothes fit on a weekly basis and keep track of measurements on a monthly basis.  The scale is not your friend and will not always give you the most accurate account of what’s going on with your body.  I believe in the good ‘ol zipper test – how do your clothes fit on you?

6) I DON’T  live life like a Hermit.  I DO have a philosophy for my regimen: Work Hard, Play Hard.  I stay the course 90% of the time but when I want to let loose, well then that’s exactly what I do and I don’t stress over it.  Consistency is the key.

I encourage you to develop your list of Do’s and Don’ts along your fitness and wellness journey.  It will help keep you balanced and in the end it’s a reminder that you don’t have to trade all of the enjoyable things in life for a healthy lifestyle.

Please feel free to email me if you have any questions regarding this blog or any information I have posted in previous blogs.  Kathy@thetimeisnowfitness.com

I am available for online training as well-don’t hesitate to ask me about my services!



3 Steps to Finding Your Habit of Enthusiasm !

What attitude did you wake up with this morning?  Did you wake up  dreading the long day and challenges that lay in front of you  or did you wake up grateful and thankful for another day?

How we perceive situations affects our attitude.  And before we know it, our attitude starts to become a habit.  And lets face it,  habits are hard to break.   Many of us are where we are today due to our attitude, either good or bad, becoming a habit.

I want to share with you my 3 steps to finding your habit of enthusiasm.  I have used these proven steps for not only myself, but hundreds and hundreds of clients through the years. Although I will be specific to health and fitness goals, the message can be applied to all aspects of your life.


1)  Find your PURPOSE .    What’s your motive, what drives you?  What inspires you?  WHAT will it take for you to keep your head in the game?  It’s hard to be enthusiastic when we’re floundering around without a purpose.

Maybe you have a goal to lose some weight before your next vacation, maybe you have a goal to be fit by the holidays or just fit in those skinny jeans? Or maybe you have a long term goal to feel better overall and have more energy for daily life? When you can identify your purpose,  and keep 1 or 2 things resonating in your head during the tough times,  I promise you will feel more enthusiastic.

For me, I have 3 things:

1. I’m a trainer and I better walk the walk…

2.  On the days my energy levels are low or I think I can skip a workout, I remind myself that somewhere, someone is lying in a hospital bed WISHING they could have one chance to lift some dumbbells.   Somewhere, someone is home bound with a physical condition and would jump at the chance to walk just one mile on the treadmill.  At that moment, my excuses suck.

3.  I spent 25 years on a diet roller coaster.  I now live by a saying that resonates with me every day “ I STAY ready, so I don’t have to GET ready”


2)  Find your PEOPLE. Keep good company.  Find your people that will embrace your habit of enthusiasm , not bring you down.

One way to do that is to share your goals with friends and family and ask them to be supportive. Another way is to find like minded people online.  Join a forum or online community that offers group discussion. Yet another way is to find groups of people in your local community that meet regularly to discuss their goals, struggles and achievements.  If you can’t find a support group, form your own.    Whether you do it online or offline, a strong network  can definitely help keep you enthusiastic.

For me, the gym was my support group when I first started out.  I realized the gym was not that scary ikky place but a place where everyone had the same goals in mind. It was a huge part of my day-  not only was it  a break from my kids, but I enjoyed the camaraderie and that made me more enthusiastic about working out.


3)  Find your PLAN.  Enthusiasm is definitely dependent on past success and failures.  In my former life, I had a terrible attitude toward diet and fitness.  Why?

Because I kept trying to do things that I wasn’t capable of…like waking up @4 am for a workout or vowing to only eat chicken and broccoli all week.  Essentially, I really didn’t have any kind of plan except to be miserable.  So, little by little, I came up with a new plan – one that included taking baby steps for long term success.

One week I started drinking more water, the next week I stopped eating fast food and the next week I added some exercise ( but at my comfortable lunch time workout, not in the middle of the night), and so on…. and once I realized that the small changes were working for me, it changed my attitude and I became more enthusiastic about the process.

Use my 3 steps to check your attitude.  Put each one in place and watch your habit of enthusiasm soar!

Turn your body into a fat burning machine!

As most of you are still feeling Old Man Winter ( not me, I live in Houston for a reason), the countdown to Spring Break, Memorial Day and believe it or not, Summer is on!  

If there’s one thing I preach everyday to my clients and anyone else who will listen, results take time.  One good meal doesn’t make you thin and one good workout doesn’t make you ready for the beach. Consistency is the key to enjoying long term success.  

But, you can be foolish with your efforts and you can be smart with your efforts. Burning body fat is not rocket science.  It’s doing small things every day that give you the results you crave.  

As I sat down to write a blog with my personal favorites to turn your body into a fat burning machine, I remembered an article that http://www.bodybuilding.com/ posted at the beginning of the year.  

No need to write any more unless I want to plagiarize this blog. This is the article you need to read to keep your body a fine tuned fat burning machine!  

Cheers to your health and fitness!


Planning = Success : 10 tips to get your week started in the right direction.

How’s your 2014 health and fitness resolutions working out so far?  You’ve probably figured out right about now that all the motivation in the world isn’t going to take the place of proper planning and execution.  

You went into this month like gangbusters and then WHOA…this stuff is hard!  Planning your gym time, shopping for clean food, preparing it and following through with your meal plan is challenging, but it doesn’t have to be so overwhelming that you throw in the towel. Start small habits now that will lead to a lifestyle that lasts forever.   

My best advice is to take each week at a time.  Each week poses different challenges so assuming that the same approach every week will work will not only set you up for setbacks, but it may derail you all together.  

Here are my tips for a successful week:

1) Review the calendar for the week and sync with other family members.  Plan your workouts and put them on the calendar. Sync with your family AND KEEP THE APPOINTMENT.  If you leave working out to a “how I feel when you I wake up” mentality,  it will not happen.  There will always be something to get in your way.  Pack a bag with your clothes, IPOD, gloves and get to work.  Don’t plan your workouts for 5am if you’re not a morning person.  You couldn’t pay me (well maybe) to workout before 7am.  I know my body and I don’t function well before that time.

2) Plan your workouts.  If you’re not following a designated program or working with a trainer, map out a plan for each week. Know what you are going to do each time you go to the gym ….and be prepared to have a back up plan.  If you planned to work legs but every machine is being used, have an alternative plan to work another body part.  

3) All crap food gets thrown away on Sundays.  Crap food manages to make it’s way in the house with entertainment leftovers, cheat day splurge meals, etc.   We don’t always plan for crap food to make it’s way in the house but it does….throw it away and make a fresh start.

4) Plan your dinners first.   Say what Kathy??  You want me to plan my dinners for the week?  What about the other meals? 

This has always been my “trick” when working with my clients from a nutrition aspect.  And this is why….so many times we go along in our day and eat great, right?  Healthy breakfast followed by your healthy snack followed by your healthy lunch followed by……UH OH – WHAT AM I GOING TO EAT FOR DINNER?  Welcome to your Diet Disaster Hell.

This is the time of day most people are starting to feel their blood sugar crash, they are pissed at the world for eating all this healthy food and not getting to eat their 3:00pm M&M’s and Coke .  Maybe they are hungry & experiencing cravings because they’ve started to cut out the crap and the instant gratification isn’t what it used to be (for now) ?  They say “middle finger to this” and eat poorly- which leads to choosing the wrong foods for dinner. 

Try this instead:

*Sync calendars so everyone is on the same page re: the commitments for the week. 

* Plan for the number of meals to be eaten in the home & how many family members will be in attendance.  Get every one’s input for meals and plan ahead for possible leftovers to be used for lunch the next day.

*If cooking isn’t your bag and you’re used to eating out or take out, invest the same money into healthy takeout meals made fresh each day.   Many companies have order forms online.  You place your order and have the food delivered to you or you pick it up once/week. PLEASE don’t buy Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice or Weight Watchers frozen meals – it’s sodium laced processed junk.  Invest in yourself and buy fresh meals.

5) Pick a designated day to shop and cook food:  For me, I prefer to shop on Sundays. I spend about 1-2 hours chopping up vegetables, making 2 days worth of rice and preparing up 2 days of protein ( chicken, fish & turkey).  You can also make your meals and freeze for the week.  I prefer to cook fresh every few days. 

6) Organize your refrigerator and pantry.  Have your food readily available and in plain sight.  The easier you can reach for food after a workout or first thing in the morning, the better your results will be.

7) Keep a food/exercise journal each week.
This is always my “go to” solution for organization.  You may think you remember what you ate or how long you did cardio, but by the end of the week your brain is fried.  Keep a journal for each day. This is a great way to track progress and poke holes at your routine and make it better each week.

8) Make a check list for each day/night.  I have a list I follow every night before I go to bed: pack gym bag with clothes, pack supplements and food, charge IPOD, etc.  I even remind myself to set the coffee pot-THAT would not be a good thing to forget.  

9) Plan your Zzzzzz’s. Try to stick with a designated bed time and wake up time each day. Sleep is usually one of the most ignored components of fitness.  Your body needs it. Deprive it and it will set you up for all sorts of chaos, not to mention slow down your progress.

10) Plan for obstacles. That’s right.  Plan to have the best laid plans come to a screeching halt for one reason or another.  If you have to miss a workout or your healthy dinner just turned into a night with your colleagues or family, tell yourself that it’s not the end of your journey but another chance to learn how to work through the obstacles. 

I know it’s hard.  I’ve been there and still work every day on my lists and keeping everything in check.  But, everyday you put the wheels in motion is one more day closer to the finish line.

Thanks for reading and cheers to your health and fitness!


Do Not Give Up…the beginning is always the hardest!

Another year- another chance to get it right.  If your health and fitness is at the top of your “to do” list this year,  I have great news!

This can be done. It’s just a matter of staying consistent, putting one foot in front of the other and most of all, remember that the outcome is entirely up to you!

You are not waiting for the CEO of a company to call you in for an interview, you’re not praying over your lottery ticket and you’re not investing in risky stocks. You see where I’m going with this?  This is not a game where your odds are one in a million – this outcome is completely up to you.  YOU make it happen.

Let’s get started!

1) Understand and define your motivation.  What is your goal?

* Maybe your goal is to get off your blood pressure or cholesterol medicine?
* Maybe your goal is to get ready for Spring Break or summer vacation?
* Maybe your goal is to stop the cycle of constantly starting over?
* Maybe your goal is to become more healthy to keep up with life demands?

Whatever your goal may be, write it down and keep it visual.  

2)  Keep an activity journal for a month. Do you know what you do in a day?

Write down your sleep pattern, all meals, exercise and time spent at work ( commute included).  You cannot set up a plan without knowing your current demands of life.  It’s amazing what happens when you write this down (or use an app) and really see what’s going on with you.
* I’ve mentioned this before in previous blogs – there is no way I would be where I am today if I had not taken the time to keep a journal of my daily life.  This helped me realize my strengths/weaknesses and make me more productive when planning my day.

3) Make a plan for a LIFESTYLE ( and be prepared for the plan to change).

So, you have a realistic idea of what your day looks like? You’re not going to get up at 4 am to workout if you go to bed a midnight, right?  You’re not going to eat egg whites if you hate eggs?  Make your plan work for you, not against you.

And wait- just as you have a handle on everything, your daily life and commitments may change. Get a hold of the basics that keep your routine in place so you can be ready for the “unexpected”.  

Personally, I must spend about 20-30 minutes getting myself ready for the next day.  I pack my gym clothes, food, supplements and even set the coffee maker.  One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I’m totally useless in the morning.  I will not be prepared for the day unless I get my act together the night before.

4) Enlist some buddies or a professional to keep you motivated.  

Support and encouragement is huge during this process. It’s so important to surround yourself with people who believe in you.  Don’t waste your time with those that say it’s too much work or effort.  

5) Drum Roll Please…..BE CONSISTENT!

Consistency is the key to the finish line. Don’t try to fool yourself with thinking that 2 days ON and 2 days OFF is going to get you to the finish line.  If you want to have a lifestyle that allows for some “cheats”, then you will need to put in the work today.  The work you put in today is the answer you are looking for…one foot in front of the other!

6) Patience is a virtue.

Yes, our mothers told us “there would be days like this”. You will not see changes overnight.  Patience is a MUST when you set out on your journey.

7) Take REST days.

As the adrenaline starts to take over your daily life, remember that rest is still important for your success. Make sure your weekly plan allows for one day of total rest.  You may not feel like you’re accomplishing much, but your body will thank you with awesome results.

8) Visualize your success.

What does your goal look like for you?  Do you see yourself running a 5K?  Do you see yourself learning to cook and prepare meals?  Do you see yourself making exercise a daily habit?

If you believe in yourself, you can achieve anything!

Hey peeps- I know this is hard.  I’ve been there, done that and bought the tourist T shirt.  Don’t make this harder than it needs to be for yourself.  Make up your mind to be the best you can be!

Thanks for reading and cheers to your health and fitness!

Don’t Overthink It- Just Do It! 10 things I’ve learned from my fitness journey

Happy New Year!  Another year in the past and another year ahead full of promise and success.  I know many of you are evaluating your current fitness level so I decided this was the time to reprint a blog from earlier this year…just remember….don’t overthink it…put one foot in front of the other and keep going!
It’s not Rocket Science – Consistency is the key to success.

I’ve been fat, thin, fat, thin, chubby, pregnant twice, fat again and thin again…you get the idea.

As someone who struggled most of the early years with eating right and exercise, I have learned a thing or two about how to be successful and stay successful with my health and fitness.

I’ve been blessed to turn my passion into a career and help others with their fitness and nutrition goals. 

Today I want to share the top 10 things I’ve learned through my fitness journey and hopefully inspire someone out there to keep going!! 

1) It’s never ever too late.  

I didn’t start my fitness journey until my mid-thirties and got into the best shape of my life by the age of 40 and never looked back. I am proud to say I’ve stepped on stage as a national figure competitor – something I never thought was possible and I did it at the ripe age of 42.  Before kids, I couldn’t run from here to the mailbox.  A half-marathon & some 5K’s later, I can now run without the feeling of throwing up all over myself.

But even more than past accomplishments, I’m happy and healthy and feel like I’m 25 – not 45!  

2) You can’t out train a bad diet. 

This one doesn’t need much of an explanation but WOW- if I had a dime for every minute I’ve spent doing extra cardio so I could go home and eat like a pig, I would be on a private island counting my money.  It doesn’t work peeps.

3) Taking time for yourself is not selfish.  

Selfish is treating your body like crap so you aren’t of any use to others in your life.  Make yourself the priority so you can make others a priority in your life.  And while you’re busy making yourself the priority, make sure you have a good support system to surround yourself…going at it alone without anyone to cheer you on or help you stay focused is not a lot of fun.

4) Stop weighing yourself every day.  

The scale is not your friend.  The scale will lie to you. It will tell you that you’re having a good day when you’re really not ( i.e. I guess I can have that extra slice of pizza) or tell you that you’re having a bad day when maybe it’s just a little water weight…so you starve yourself.  Either way it’s a bad idea.  

Rely on measurements and the good ‘ol “zipper” test to give you an accurate “picture” of what’s really going on with you.

5) Results don’t come in a pill.  

You WILL have to bust your ass.  You will have to eat right and drink your water.  You will have to plan your food and exercise sessions.  There isn’t a Fitness Fairy that does it for you nor does it come in a fancy pill. Complaining about your current situation does nothing to fight the fight.  Make up your mind to get it done.

6) Results, GOOD and LONG LASTING  results will take time.  

No, you can’t lose 5 lbs before the weekend (and expect to keep it off)  and you won’t suddenly have toned muscles after 1 week in the gym. Unrealistic expectations will create unrealistic results. 

Consistency is the key to long term success.  The bodies you admire in the gym or in the fitness magazines were created with patience and consistency, not gimmicks.

7) Eat to live don’t live to eat.  

Exercise is only part of the equation.  We have all heard that diet is the key to fitness success – at least 70-80% depending on who you ask!  If you want to change your physique, change the way you view food.  
Don’t get me wrong- I LOVE food- all kinds – I’m not even prejudice to fast food. I could throw down on some fried chicken or pizza and not blink an eye.

But, I’ve had to learn to view food as FUEL and treat my body to the right gas….not give it crappy food which results in bad fuel.

8) Weight training will get you further than hours on the treadmill

Yes- I was one of those in the beginning- spent hours doing cardio and ignored the need for weight training.   
The key to having a strong metabolism is to have muscle on the body. Muscle gives the body a more tight and lean appearance.  Do not fall victim to ” I’ll start with cardio– lose some weight and begin my strength routine”.  Big mistake.  Do your cardio AND weight training for a balanced physique.

9) Keep track of your food/workouts. 

There is NO way I would be where I am today if I hadn’t taken the time to keep a food journal ( and this was before the age of fitness apps!).  It was the number one factor that led to my success- I’m convinced of it. 

I wrote down everything I ate for years.  I educated myself on calories and macro nutrients.  I still keep track of my food on a weekly basis.  Success rates almost triple when a journal is kept for at least 4 weeks.

10) Failure to Plan is a Plan to Fail.  

I know we’ve all heard this one before but let’s face it- it’s part of the process.  Schedule your workouts, plan your meals, plan for obstacles and plan for success. That’s right…plan for success.

She made up her mind to get it DONE!

Well, here we are, the end of my local client’s 12 week Lifestyle Challenge.  The twelve weeks may be over, but the journey continues for a lifetime!


Beginning weight: 156 lbs
Current weight: 144 lbs

Beginning waist measurement: 35.5 inches
Current waist measurement: 30 inches

Beginning body fat: 30%
Current body fat: 21%

From the beginning, I stressed my client was NOT on a diet or drastic exercise program.  We worked together on a meal plan that consisted of 40% protein, 30% carbs and 30% fats for 1500 calories/day.

She maintained 3 days of weight training as well as 5 days of cardio- using a mixture of HIIT ( high intensity interval training) and moderate cardio sessions.  Her total cardio hours averaged around 5 hours/week.

As I’ve always said, this fitness stuff isn’t rocket science.  Once you make up your mind to move from one state of existence to another, the only thing that stands in your way of success is YOU.

In my client’s own words, here is her story to describe the last 12 weeks.  I encourage you to read these words carefully- because I feel she speaks for many in the same set of circumstances.

Greetings to the end of my 12 weeks of changing my lifestyle.  That is the only way I can describe the program.  While I did train ( and I mean really TRAIN HARD) , something else happened along the way.  I learned to train my mind in order to train my body.

The key word for me was “MY”.  It isn’t anyone else’s body, mind or life.  I had two choices:  Follow the current course and cry every time I got dressed or shopped for clothes or alter the course.  If you think it was that easy, please read on.

In the last update, I had struggled for two weeks with a plateau on the scale.  The challenges did not end there.  I had an old injury rear it’s ugly head and I spent 2 weeks in physical therapy.  Cardio was non-existent and resistance bands replaced dumbbells.

Again, Kathy’s words resonated in my head:  ” So what are you going to do?  Go backwards?  ”  I certainly felt I was going backwards but Kathy reminded me that every step forward was a step in the right direction and doing something is always better than doing nothing.  

Her words gave me a renewed determination to finish what I started!  The physical therapist released me to do cardio and Kathy increased my cardio each day with only 10 minutes- I felt like a new woman!  It was such a minor adjustment but it yielded tremendous results- both mental and physical.    It also showed me there is ALWAYS  a way to get it done!

The 12 weeks may be over in the history books, but this is my life and it’s ongoing.  Going backwards will never be an option again.  

BRAVO!  I really can’t stress enough that while you’re in the middle of changing your body and health, your mind is the key to success.  I’m not about just changing your physical appearance, I want to help change your mind as well.

I hope the honest testimony of my client has helped to inspire someone thinking about taking the next step toward their goals!

Thanks for reading and cheers to your health and fitness !

Holiday Sabotage- don’t fall for it!

Have you ever had one of these moments?? Of course you have- because you are Human. 

You go along with your day making good choices with your food.  Hec, you may have already paid good money to meet with your trainer and have your booty kicked?  Or you gave up something in your day to allow time to hit the gym?  And low and behold, you make a single choice that turns into a diet disaster.  What’s worse is that you’re having that out of body experience & watching yourself from the corner of the room and screaming to yourself :


The scary part is that you do.  We all do.  But, for different reasons, we turn out to be our own worst enemy when it comes to our food choices.  I don’t have a degree in psychology but,  as a former foodie, I know how easy it is to go to the gym but how much work it is to make good solid food choices. 

So, first things first.

Why do we do it?  Well, ask 10 people and I can promise you 10 different answers so I will speak for myself.

Before I began working out, I just ate well but would always cheat after a few days.  I would start over and over and over.  Then, I began working out but I had a new problem – I always felt I could out-train a bad diet.  I worked out like a crazy woman so therefore it was OK if I indulged…not understanding the concept between food and results.  I would hate myself for doing it, pinky swear 50 times that I would do better, and then do it again. 

How do we stop??  Well- that again depends on the person and what is driving them to the self-sabotage behaviors.  Here are my own tips as well as others I’ve gathered from clients:

1. Don’t beat yourself up.  Negative thoughts don’t need to be part of the process.  Make a vow with yourself that is was a slip up and it’s not going to define the rest of your day, week, month or year!  Brush it off and move on to the important things.

2. Designate a cheat meal.  Even if you are dieting, you need one meal that gives you the freedom to eat what you want.  If you’re following a meal plan that doesn’t allow for a cheat meal, you may want to re-think your program. 

3. Eliminate the crap food in your house.  I am a firm believer in “out of sight out of mind”.  You can’t reach for it at night time if it’s not there…get rid of it!

4. Put up reminders.  I love this one.  I have a client who has post it notes on her refrigerator that remind her that one cup of ice cream = 60 minutes on the elliptical or a bag of chips = an extra cardio session on the weekend.  This woman is a busy executive and has zero time for “make-up” cardio as I like to call it. 

5. Pay up.  Some people have a swear jar…make a jar to donate a dollar or two every time you eat something that you know you shouldn’t…maybe a little less sexy than the other suggestions but it can still work. 

6. Change your routine.  I really think this is the key to success.  If your routine is to stop at the coffee shop on the way to work and throw in a muffin or scone, stop.  If your routine is to go out to lunch every day, stop.  If your routine is to unwind at home with wine or crap food, stop.  There is a solution for every roadblock.  You have to figure out a way to work around the temptation. 

7. “In order to fly, you got to give up the S%*#! that weighs you down”.  I love this quote.  If you are surrounded by people, things, etc that are holding you back from your goals, move on. 

8. Baby Steps. If you try to change everything at one time, you are most definitely setting yourself up for self sabotage. Pick one thing each week to work on – food, scheduling gym time, planning, etc.

9. No, you are not a diet failure.  If the food was the easy part, everyone would be at their goal weight.  But, the fact is that it’s easier to go to the gym then eat the right foods all the time.  

10. Plan & plan some more.  Failure to plan is a plan to fail.  Simple!

I wish all of you a very blessed Thanksgiving with your family and friends.  Thanks for reading and cheers to your health and fitness!

Have you hit a wall with your weight loss?

Last week’s blog featured my local client’s status of her 12 week Lifestyle Challenge.  One of the issues she was plagued during the first six weeks was normal to all of us – she hit a plateau and fought with her attitude to stay focused.  She did it and prevailed.  

I decided that this would be a good time to reprint an earlier blog from this year.  
If you missed it the first time, here’s what you need to know.  Even if you’ve read it before, read it again for a refresher course!

a state of little or no change following a period of activity or progress.

I tread this word lightly because, even though your body has hit a plateau, that does NOT mean it’s not changing and moving in the right direction. Yes, the scale is a good measurement but not always the ACCURATE measurement of what’s really going on. I rely mostly on the way my clothes fit and my waist measurement. If your waist is getting smaller yet the scale is stalled, congrats- you are WINNING!  Why? You are not losing precious muscle but you are losing body fat!

But, it’s still a good idea to always evaluate and re-evaluate where you can make changes or possibly tighten up your current plan to keep results moving along.

Why does our body plateau? Simple- it’s the body’s natural reaction to diet and exercise. When we begin a fitness regimen, your body responds to it immediately and all those fun changes are taking place.  But, after some time has passed, the body will resist the change and do everything possible to maintain homeostasis – a constant state of internal function. Time to take a hard look at your current routine and make those changes necessary to keep progress moving along! 

1. Continue to keep your nutrition plan at the top of the list: 

This is the first part of the your program to re-examine. A few things can go a long way to keep success moving along….

-Keep a food journal. Are you sure you haven’t loosened up a bit in your eating pattern? I always recommend my clients keep a food journal or use an online app to keep track of their food for one week. Once we start to see results, it’s easy to rely less on food scales and labels and “think” we know what we are putting in our mouths. This is where “calorie creep” comes into play and can really slow down your progress. Honestly, most of the time the plateau can be fixed with a closer look at the daily consumption of food.

The body is now working at a lower body weight but you are still giving it the same calories every day? Maybe it’s time to shake things up with your meal plan. Consider zig zagging your calories/carbs for a couple of weeks. I’ve used this method for myself as well as many clients. The goal is to eat less calories one day & more on another day, in the form of carbs. Here is the plan:

Keep your calories the same for the week. But, instead of eating the same calories every day, eliminate 100 calories one day and add an extra 100 for another day. Try this for 2 weeks. The increase/decrease of calories should come from carb sources. On the days you go with lower carbs, limit your starchy carbs and fruit. Keep your vegetable intake high.

Get your water in everyday. A hydrated body keeps the metabolism functioning properly.

2. Change the Intensity/Duration of your Cardio : 

Another possible culprit is your cardio routine. The fact is that our bodies adapt to the cardio first. So, maybe you need to change it up? If you’re knocking out 30 minutes of cardio, add another 15 minutes. Or, consider adding 20-30 minutes of walking before you start your day in addition to your current cardio routine. If you’re not currently using HIT (intervals) in your routine, start now. Here is a sample workout I provided to ‘Maximum Fitness’ magazine a few years back (Click on the pic to enlarge):

3. Don’t wimp out on your strength training ! 

I cannot stress enough how important it is to maintain your routine with weights in the gym.  So many times in the quest to break a plateau or save time, I will see people ignore their strength training in order to make more time for cardio. NO- WRONG CHESS MOVE!

Building lean muscle is the backbone of a supercharged metabolism so now is not the time to slack off but changing things around can help with muscle confusion and work your muscle groups in new ways. 

-change the ORDER of the exercises
– change the TYPES of exercises used in the workout
– change the MUSCLE GROUPS that are exercised in the same workout
-change the NUMBER of sets
-change the AMOUNT of weight used
 Bottom line- the more lean muscle you have the faster your metabolism will work. Lift to lose fat!

4. Get your ZZZZ’s :  

One sure way to screw up your progress is to regress on your sleep.  If you’ve been working at a level above your normal routine, then your body needs the sleep to recover.   What happens to our body when we don’t get enough sleep?

– Increased levels of cortisol ( the stress induced hormone that LOVES to hold on to fat! ) 
– You may still be losing weight but burn the midnight oil and you will burn muscle – which will stall your metabolism in it’s track.
-Decreased sleep leads to increased hunger so be aware of triggers that lead to the wrong choices.

5. Last but not least, keep your head in the game:

As the famous quote goes: 90% mental and 10% physical.

This is the part of the game that separates the boys from the men and the girls from the women.  It’s time to realize that changes are not going to take place every day.  You must be patient with the process, remember how far you’ve come and don’t let the thought of quitting even enter your mind.

Remember that this is a lifestyle change and stay focused on the big picture.

You can’t stop a winning attitude !

Change is hard. It’s uncomfortable, lonely at times and will make you question every fiber in your body.  But, is it worth it? You know it is…and sometimes you just need a little push in the right direction.  

For those following along, my local client has been on a 12 week lifestyle challenge to end the roller coaster. I couldn’t be more proud of my her!  These last 6 weeks have been not only been challenging, but have pushed her to a point she didn’t realize was possible. 

We never used that dreaded four letter word ‘DIET’. We focused on changing components of her lifestyle to enhance her overall well being.

In 6 weeks, Kim has lost 10 lbs and FOUR inches in her waist.  Remember- overall inches lost means she is retaining lean muscle but losing FAT.  As you may recall from an earlier blog, this is not Kim’s first crack at this….four years ago she lost the weight….lost the momentum…but got her mojo back – this time for good!

I asked Kim to share her feelings over the last 6 weeks and give her perspective for the rest of the challenge.  I ask my clients to do this for several reasons:

1) Prove to themselves how far they have come whether they believe it or not !

2) Reflective writing is very useful.  When you have a bad day, you can reflect on your accomplishments and achievements, not the disappointments.

3) Share with others useful hints/tips for making a transition of lifestyle.

Here I am…6 weeks into my Lifestyle Change. Four years ago, I was in this exact place but now it’s different. There is no way to compare the process at 44 yrs of age to the training regimen when I was 40. There were different stresses, different goals and different environments. I’m not going to get caught up in the past – I’m going to focus on the process over the last six weeks.

In the beginning it was difficult to give up the coping mechanisms that had become part of my daily life.  The first was wine.  Not only was it a way to reduce stress, it was also my socializing tool.  I found that it took four weeks to really reduce the feeling that I “needed” a glass of wine after a long day.  There were definitely supportive friends and then there were friends that I believe felt uncomfortable being around me and my new lifestyle choices. Kathy warned me this might happen and she was right.

Next, I had to tackle my nutrition plan.  I learned early on that organization and prepping is the key to maintaining proper nutrition. I cannot leave my nutrition up to chance.

Kathy provided a meal plan based on my workouts, daily activities, sleep pattern, etc. It was up to me to follow it.

I definitely do not feel that I have been on a diet.  I’m eating great food.  It is eating the right foods at the right times that takes planning and execution.  I’ve organized my refrigerator so that I have my own shelf.  The left side is for vegetables, the middle for certain fruits and the right side is my protein.  It makes it extremely seamless for me to be able to grab a Tupperware of food and have a well balanced meal.  As a result, our food bills have decreased and the family’s appetite for my cooking has increased.   The ground rules have been laid out and my family is not only abiding by them, but has realized that my planning and dinner organization is a blessing.

With so much that has gone right, it may seem like the first half has been a breeze, right?  Think again.  I went through week five and six without any weight loss.  Kathy could see the tears swell in my eyes because she definitely empathized with my frustration.  Here I have put in all this effort, changed my lifestyle in more ways than just food and drink and nothing to show for it for two weeks.  I remember Kathy’s words so clearly-

 “So what are you going to do?  Go backwards?  Just give up because you didn’t see results this week?   If you do A+B+C you WILL get D.
Everything you are doing is a step in the right direction.” 

Basically, I needed to keep following my nutrition as planned, hit my strength training and cardio as mapped out and I will see results.

Well, she was right.  After a 2 week plateau, I lost an additional 3 lbs in one week.  This was the hardest part so far- keeping my focus when I didn’t have anything to show for it!

So, here I am – putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward.  I choose that I’m worth it and I will not go back. 

Here’s to the next six weeks and the rest of my life!!

Thanks Kim!  And I’m just going to throw this out there- not ONCE did she complain…yes, she felt helpless at times but she never EVER quit on her attitude.  

You want results?  Get the right attitude.
You are worth it and results are possible if you believe in yourself and trust the process.

Thanks for reading and cheers to your health and fitness!